Havre Daily News
Republican Shane Ford will take his second shot at a Ward 4 Havre City Council seat Tuesday, and Democratic incumbent Allen “Woody” Woodwick will aim to keep his seat for another four years.
Both candidates are from Havre and say they want to serve the city they love.
Woodwick, a landlord and musician who is married with three children, said he is running again because he wants to continue serving the community. He said in an interview last week that he brings “common sense” to the City Council.
“I'm proud of the fact that whenever I make a decision to cast a vote, I use common sense, I research the issue and make my decision with what I know in my heart to be right and good for the community,” Woodwick said.
Ford, who runs a day care with his wife, said he doesn't consider himself to be a politician. He said he wants to make Havre better for his four children.
“A position as councilman is not one of power, but of servicehood,” Ford said last week. “I believe the City Council and mayor can do a lot of good things for the city. I chose Havre to be my home, so I might as well try to make a difference.”
Ford went to an out-of-state college and moved back to Havre in 1991. He ran for City Council in 1999 and lost to Emily Mayer Lossing in Ward 4.
Ford is still seeking information before he takes a stand on some city issues like annexation and charter government, but does have his mind set on one: He thinks Havre should switch to nonpartisan elections.
“The issues that are voted on affect you and me, no matter what party we belong to,” he said. “Nonpartisan elections would also give some people an easier chance to run (for office).”
Woodwick said nonpartisan city government is not enough of a reason to develop a city charter.
The Havre City Council has considered creating a charter, which would define powers within the government and give the city the ability to do some things it cannot without one. A charter would have to be approved by the voters.
“A charter is a very useful tool,”Woodwick said. “Like any sharp tool, it can also be very dangerous. With a charter you can tilt the balance of power.”
Woodwick said the City Council needs more information before it decides whether to annex additional land into the city. City officials are looking at agreements made with property owners and gathering information to compare possible revenues with the cost of providing additional city services.
“My initial instinct is that I think we should annex, but, ultimately, we need to see a comparison,” Woodwick said. “I think we are on the cusp of some growth. I think annexation is going to help entice other businesses that are looking to come in.”
Ford also said he needs more information before weighing in on the subject.
If Havre expanded its boundaries, the city may need to purchase an additional garbage truck to service those areas, he said. Ford said the city will need to look at whether the revenues from new property taxes would cover the cost of those additional services.
Ford said he hopes Havre doesn't have a problem with racism. A federal mediator has made several visits to the city after an article written by a University of Montana journalism student and distributed by several Montana newspapers chronicled instances of discrimination in town.
“If there is (a problem), I think the only thing we can do is be a good example for the rest of the city of Havre,” Ford said.
Woodwick said he believes there is racism in Havre, and agreed that the City Council can set an example for the community.
“We have to get people on an individual basis to treat each other with respect,” he said.
Ford said that, if elected, he would develop a phone list to contact people in his ward and in the city.
“It would be nice to know what people think,” he said. “A lot of people feel their opinions don't matter. Individuals can make a big difference.”
Woodwick said he is proud to represent the people of Havre.
“I enjoy being part of the process,” he said. “I'm proud to help shape our future and shape the future for our children.”